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them as a group for the last time. at 8:00 this morning, pacific time, pope benedict xvi will get on a helicopter. he will fly to a retreat outside of rome. that's where he will officially resign later today. brian flow remembers joining us live at st. mary's cathedral in san francisco where a special mass will be held to thank benedict for his life of service. brian? >> reporter: hi, dave. yeah, a special mass indeed, good morning to you. several bay area catholics will be taking part in the thanksgiving masses this morning starting in about an hour here. we're live at st. mary's where one of the services will be held. it's unknown how many catholics will be attending. but the service is expected to give thanks to pope benedict's eight years as pope and pray for his help. the pope says he will offer unconditional reverence and obedience of his successor. cardinals are planning to meet next week to discuss a conclave to take place. there are many questions remaining on who the candidates are. for many catholics in the bay area, they have ideas who they would like to see as the nex
daytona. >>> pope benedict xvi gave his final blessing at the vatican before his resignation, officially stepping down on thursday. alex savage is live with more on some of the controversy surrounding the process to find his replacement. alex? >> reporter: the church's sexual abuse scandal could certainly play a role in the selection process moving forward. today, catholics around the world and here in the bay area are honoring pope benedict xvi as he steps down just days later on this week. earlier on this morning, the outgoing pope gave his final blessing at the vatican. >> yes, guys, they are right there. >> the 85-year-old spoke from his studio window addressing a huge crowd that packs st. peter square. estimated at roughly 100,000 people. the pope spoke in a clear, strong voice thanking the faithful for their closeness and affection and tried to reassure catholics that he is not abandoning the church. he'll be stepping down on thursday. the first pope to do so in 600 years. and then soon the search for the next pope will begin. a conclave of 120 cardinals will vote in vote on benedi
may have come prior to his election in 2005. pope benedict xvi hoped to retire and write books. he's he's a highly regarded scholar in theology. he submitted his resignation three times. despite statements that he didn't have the mental and physical strength to go on, one parishioner said it was bad timing. >> i would have resigned after -- let's say after easter. this is the most highly, highly -- holy, holiday of the catholic church. >> reporter: the 85-year-old's last day of pope will be february 28th the last time a pope resigned was nearly 600 years ago, in 1415, when pope gregory stepped down in order to an end a civil war within the church. pope benedict xvi was born in 1927 as joseph ratzinger in germany he was forced into hitler's youth at age 14. he served in the army but deserted and was captured by the americans. we are hoping to speak from officials from the archdiocese this morning. we'll let you know what they have to say. live from san francisco, i'm tara moriarty, ktvu channel 2 news. >> thank you. >>> in overnight news, a crash in concord leaves one man with life-
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